As a person with a disability it is imperative you take some time before a disaster to think through your personal plan. If you need help be sure to ask family, friends, caregivers and case workers to help you. They will be a vital part of your support network and may not have considered disaster planning either, so you can help them as well!
Create an Emergency Plan
- Work with your support network to develop an emergency plan. Have a plan for home, work, school, or any other place you spend time regularly.
- Make a plan that includes various hazards that can strike your community. Apply contingencies you use daily to deal with power outages or transportation delays or breakdowns. This will help you as you consider larger disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and terrorism.
- Create a communication plan. Make sure you and your support network share contact information and alternate ways to communicate if phones are not working. Strategies may include agreeing to meet at an assigned place, or using pagers, email, or other technology not reliant on phone lines.
- Make an evacuation plan for home, work, school, and other situations. Identify a primary and secondary way to evacuate the house or building. If necessary, look into evacuation assistive devices, or the installation of ramps at emergency exits. Identify an area where public safety officials can assist you in any building you visit regularly. Contact the building safety director for help. If you require accessible transportation to evacuate an area, identify public and private resources that will help you.
- Plan for different ways of sheltering. Consider what you can do to safely shelter in place. Consider how to shelter with friends and family. Finally, consider how a shelter designated for the public would meet your demands.
- If you receive regular services (home health care, transportation, dialysis), make a plan with each service provider. Learn about their disaster plans and how to contact them in an emergency. Work with them to identify back- up service providers.
Your Personal Situation
- If you require help evacuating a building, create a plan with the assistance of your support network.
- If necessary, look into evacuation assistive devices, or the installation of ramps at emergency exits. Identify an area where public safety officials can assist you in any building you visit regularly. Contact the building safety director for help.
- If you require accessible transportation to evacuate an area, identify public and private resources that will help you.
Consider the following when developing your plan:
- Do you use communication devices?
- Do you depend on accessible transportation to get to work, appointments, or to other places in your community?
- Do you receive medical treatments (e.g. dialysis) on a regular basis?
- Do you need assistance with personal care?
- Do you rely on electrical equipment or other durable equipment?
- Do you use mobility aids such as a walker, cane, or a wheelchair?
- Do you have a service animal?
Ready Kit and Go Bag
A Ready Kit is a supply of items that you will need if you should have to shelter in place or rely on your own resources for a few days. A Go Bag has fewer items, but they are the essential ones to take with you if you must evacuate quickly. See NOD’s booklet Planning for Hazards: A Guide for People with Functional Needs for a list of suggested supplies. Common items include:
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food and manual can opener
- 3-day supply of water per person
- Medical equipment and assistive devices (glasses, hearing aids, catheters, augmentative communication devices, canes, walkers), plus extra batteries and chargers
- Medications, including a list with the prescription name, dosage, frequency, doctor, and pharmacist. If medications must be refrigerated, bring a cooler with an ice pack or other coolant system
- List of emergency contact information including your support network members in and out of the region, service providers, etc.
- Copies of important documents (birth certificate, passport, licenses, insurance information, proof of address)
- Flashlight and radio with extra batteries
- Cash, credit cards, checkbook, ATM card
- Supplies for a service animal including food, identification tags, proof of vaccinations, and veterinarian contact information
- White distress lag or cloth, whistle, flashlights and/or glow sticks
- First aid kit
- Written identification of your disability-related or health condition, or medical alert tags or bracelets
The following information is from the National Organization of Disability and can be found on their website